Streamlining The Process

Decorating By pastryqueen9 Updated 1 Mar 2010 , 7:05pm by pastryqueen9

pastryqueen9 Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 6:42pm
post #1 of 24

I am having the hardest time with time (if that makes any sense). I always end up running late on my orders...not that I am not on time delivering the product but I often do not get to do everything that I wanted to do because I lose time and will be late if I don't cut it short. Any ideas or thoughts on this?

23 replies
flourpowerMN Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 7:04pm
post #2 of 24

Can you give us an idea of what your current process is? For instance, do you bake/torte/fill/crumb coa/decorate all on the same day?

I find that what works for me is to bake the cake 2-3 days ahead, torte, fill & crumb coat the next and then decorate the day before. I was trying to torte/fill/crumb/decorate all in the same day but then I was rushed to finish the decorating.

pastryqueen9 Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 7:26pm
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Quote:

Can you give us an idea of what your current process is? For instance, do you bake/torte/fill/crumb coa/decorate all on the same day?







OMG!! That's just it flourpower, I really have no process. I haven't like set up days that I bake, I've just been taking orders as they come no matter when they come. I usually try to bake the day before and then crumb coat that evening and deocrate the day of. Do you have specific days that you bake? If so how does that work for you? Doesn't that kinda leave room for people to go elsewhere if they need a cake that doesn't coincide with your baking days

flourpowerMN Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 7:34pm
post #4 of 24

Well, if you're worried about not having cake available for a last minute order, you could always bake way ahead & freeze the cake. I find that freezing for a short time actually enhances the moistness of my cake.

After reading several posts about freezing cakes here on CC, what works best for me is to double wrap the slightly warm cake in plastic wrap & then place it in a Ziploc freezer bag. It doesn't take long for them to thaw. You can also use foil in place of a freezer bag for larger layers.

I'm just a hobbyist at this point so I don't have many last minute requests. I have turned down family members if they ask me on Wednesday for a cake on Saturday. It's just not enough time and since I'm not getting paid (and work a FT job besides), its not worth it to stress over cranking out a cake on short notice.

If I have a cake for a weekend party, I usually bake on Tuesday, make my filling on Wednesday, torte/fill/crumb on Thursday and decorate on Friday. I try to have at LEAST one day in between baking & decorating. I find it helps the cake to settle/firm up for the final layer of decoration.

IsaSW Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 8:35pm
post #5 of 24

I am only doing wedding cakes,
what works for me is bake thursday night and prepares the buttercream and fillings and store in the refrigerator in a jumbo ziplock bag.
Then friday, when I get in from my full time job I crumbcoat and place in the refrigerator, by the time I get to the fourth tier for example, my other ones are solid enough to place fondant.
I have always finished before midnight. Except for the 5 tier cake in my pics. I had to get up early and didn't stop until delivery time.
What is driving me crazy is the prep of the boards and cutting ribbon and all those little things. I am planning on having that done as soon as they give me my deposit, it doesn't matter if its 3 months before the date. I still haven't tried that one. We will see how that goes.

Making the buttercream and filling a different day than the decorating day, has helped me a lot.

indydebi Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 9:03pm
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaSW

What is driving me crazy is the prep of the boards and cutting ribbon and all those little things.


Wow, I sure agree with that one! And the 'stopping' to have to do those things eats up more time than you realize.

Being right here next door to the Indy 500 track, I'm always fascinating by the time managment and efficiency things those guys do in the pits. Everything is right there, ready and handy. Can you imagine a driver pulling into the pits and one of the crew saying, "Now WHERE is that spare tire I knew we were going to need?" icon_lol.gif

PRe-prep for me means having boards ready, trimmed to size (if needed) and covered; dowels are there and ready to cut (HATED that time when I was one dowel short and didnt know it until cake assembly time!); any BC flowers are made ahead of time and already air-dried, ready to go on the cake; icing is made and ready to go (this is the big one for me .... absolutely hate not having my icing ready to pull out and slap on the cake!) icon_lol.gif

pastryqueen9 Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 10:09pm
post #7 of 24

IsaSW how did you get those neat little cake balls on the areas of your website...it is so cool! thumbs_up.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 10:20pm
post #8 of 24

It sounds like you are taking a lot of last minute orders. Are customers calling you and asking for a cake the next day? If that's the problem, then you need to nip that in the bud. Start turning down the orders and tell people that call you need at least a week's notice or whatever.

For orders that you know about in advance, I would set up some sort of schedule. For example for a cake due on Sat....
Monday - shop for all ingredients and supplies
Tuesday - bake and freeze, make and color frosting, make any fondant, gumpaste decorations
Wed - prepare cake boards
Thurs - crumb coat, let settle then frost or cover cakes in fondant
Fri- decorate (do not go to bed until the cake is complete)
Sat - deliver

HTH

Kitagrl Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 10:27pm
post #9 of 24

Say I have five cakes to do in a week:


Monday--errands

Tuesday--Bake everything

Wednesday--Do one cake, preferably one due Friday

Thursday--Decorate two cakes

Friday--Decorate last two cakes

Saturday--pickups and deliveries.

(If cake due Sunday, can spread a cake to do on Saturday)

bobwonderbuns Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 10:43pm
post #10 of 24

My tip -- get as much done ahead of time as possible. Believe me, it will save you MUCHO headaches in the long run! (Go ahead, ask me how I know this!) icon_lol.gif

sadsmile Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 11:05pm
post #11 of 24

I am always late so I set my clocks ahead by 10 minutes. And I find having time to make additional changes and finishing touches very important... so why don't you try resetting your deadline ahead by say three hours.

cakesbycathy Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 11:19pm
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadsmile

I am always late so I set my clocks ahead by 10 minutes. And I find having time to make additional changes and finishing touches very important... so why don't you try resetting your deadline ahead by say three hours.




I have tried the clock thing before. The problem is that I know that the clocks are fast, so I always tell myself I've still got an extra ten minutes icon_rolleyes.gif

indydebi Posted 26 Feb 2010 , 11:54pm
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

I have tried the clock thing before. The problem is that I know that the clocks are fast, so I always tell myself I've still got an extra ten minutes icon_rolleyes.gif


I do the same thing. I tried setting my clock ahead by 20 minutes, so when the alarm went off in the morning, I'd get up and have plenty of time. BUt I always KNEW I really had another 20 minutes to snooze. And I did.

jillmakescakes Posted 27 Feb 2010 , 12:45am
post #14 of 24

Take a moment to write down your basic process. Bake, fill, ice decorate etc. Start from the finished product and work backwards. This will give you the timeline that you need.

If you find that you are taking a lot of last minute orders, you have two options.
One is to continue to take them and fly by the seat of your pants.
The other is to not take an order for the week after a certain date. If you do take an order, add a rush fee for the trouble. Perhaps 10% of the order price...

menas Posted 27 Feb 2010 , 1:13am
post #15 of 24

Ok I know I'm a newbie but if you bake a cake on Tuesday that isn't going to be delivered until Saturday, isn't it going to be a little stale? Even if it is kept in the fridge? How long is a cake good for? I love this site, I've learned so much, ready for more, educate me people!

cakesbycathy Posted 27 Feb 2010 , 1:44am
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by menas

Ok I know I'm a newbie but if you bake a cake on Tuesday that isn't going to be delivered until Saturday, isn't it going to be a little stale? Even if it is kept in the fridge? How long is a cake good for? I love this site, I've learned so much, ready for more, educate me people!




Wrap extremely well and freeze. Pull out the cake Thursday am to defrost. Everytime I have done this my cakes have turned out soooo moist icon_smile.gif

mkolmar Posted 27 Feb 2010 , 4:26am
post #17 of 24

Time management is very important. Make a to-do list if you have to and scratch off what you have done every day. For last minute orders you could either say no, I need more time or have cakes made up and in the freezer. Just pull out when needed. Batches of icing made up in the middle of the week and put in the fridge to pull out when needed. If you can do your boards up in advance too, dowel rods, and any decoration that can be made in advance earlier in the week. Any edible images needed and FBCT done earlier in the week.
If you don't want to bake and freeze in advance I would bake - fill and crumb coat on Thursday. Decorate on Friday and then pick up/deliveries on Sat. This of course depends on how many orders you have to do and if you have a commercial kitchen you can crank them out a little faster in.

Menas- unless necessary I try not to put cakes in the fridge. A freezer is designed to lock in moisture. A fridge is designed to pull moisture out slowly.

emlashlee Posted 27 Feb 2010 , 4:50am
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaSW

What is driving me crazy is the prep of the boards and cutting ribbon and all those little things.

Wow, I sure agree with that one! And the 'stopping' to have to do those things eats up more time than you realize.

Being right here next door to the Indy 500 track, I'm always fascinating by the time managment and efficiency things those guys do in the pits. Everything is right there, ready and handy. Can you imagine a driver pulling into the pits and one of the crew saying, "Now WHERE is that spare tire I knew we were going to need?" icon_lol.gif

PRe-prep for me means having boards ready, trimmed to size (if needed) and covered; dowels are there and ready to cut (HATED that time when I was one dowel short and didnt know it until cake assembly time!); any BC flowers are made ahead of time and already air-dried, ready to go on the cake; icing is made and ready to go (this is the big one for me .... absolutely hate not having my icing ready to pull out and slap on the cake!) icon_lol.gif




How early do you make your icing ahead...and do you refrigerate it? (I use your recipe and LOVE it!) Thanks!

So glad people are sharing their timelines. It made me examine mine - or lack thereof. icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 27 Feb 2010 , 10:03am
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by emlashlee

How early do you make your icing ahead...and do you refrigerate it? (I use your recipe and LOVE it!) Thanks!



It seemed I always had some icing on hand, but I'd keep icing on the counter for days. When I was prepping for a wedding, though, I'd make the icing at least a day or two ahead of time. (it actually has a better consistency when it sits at least a day.)

I never refrigerated it. Growing up, we never refrigerated cakes or icing, so it was just one of those things that never crossed my mind as something that needed done. When I came on CC, I learned that the milk and sugar stablize each other, so there is a scientific reason why it works ok .... but putting icing in the 'frig ranked right up there with putting crisco and peanut butter in the 'frig; in the column headed "why in the WORLD would you do THAT?!" icon_confused.gificon_wink.gif

emlashlee Posted 27 Feb 2010 , 2:24pm
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by emlashlee

How early do you make your icing ahead...and do you refrigerate it? (I use your recipe and LOVE it!) Thanks!


It seemed I always had some icing on hand, but I'd keep icing on the counter for days. When I was prepping for a wedding, though, I'd make the icing at least a day or two ahead of time. (it actually has a better consistency when it sits at least a day.)

I never refrigerated it. Growing up, we never refrigerated cakes or icing, so it was just one of those things that never crossed my mind as something that needed done. When I came on CC, I learned that the milk and sugar stablize each other, so there is a scientific reason why it works ok .... but putting icing in the 'frig ranked right up there with putting crisco and peanut butter in the 'frig; in the column headed "why in the WORLD would you do THAT?!" icon_confused.gificon_wink.gif




Thanks a lot!

menas Posted 28 Feb 2010 , 1:07am
post #21 of 24

OK, I didn't know that freezing locks in moisture & refrigerating draws it out! Thanks mkolmar!
And indydebi I just always naturally put stuff in the fridge, but not anymore!
I'm glad you guys don't charge for this knowledge because I can't afford the amount I need!!! icon_smile.gif

pastryqueen9 Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 2:01am
post #22 of 24

I have a client that is determined to refridgerate the cakes he buys for me and keeps asking what can he do to keep them moist and from drying out...I have tried to educate him on the freezer vs fridge science but he says it doesn't work for him because when his guests order desserts (he runs a bed and breakfast) the cake would not thaw quick enough for him to serve it to his guests...any thoughts on this? He is a very good client that I would hate to lose. What do you think ladies?

indydebi Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 2:06am
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by pastryqueen9

I have a client that is determined to refridgerate the cakes he buys for me and keeps asking what can he do to keep them moist and from drying out...I have tried to educate him on the freezer vs fridge science but he says it doesn't work for him because when his guests order desserts (he runs a bed and breakfast) the cake would not thaw quick enough for him to serve it to his guests...any thoughts on this? He is a very good client that I would hate to lose. What do you think ladies?



Sounds like he needs to organize his operation. He's not Olive Garden where he can sit out 7 cakes and KNOW that he will sell them at the end of the night. So if he's a small operation, he needs to limit the selection.

"Tonight we have choc fudge cake with raspberry filling and a choc ganache icing or Bananc cake with Choc filling and whipped cream topping."

Those are the cakes he takes out of the freezer in the morning to have them available for dinner that night.

Steamlining his options will reduce his costs which will raise his profits.

pastryqueen9 Posted 1 Mar 2010 , 7:05pm
post #24 of 24

I never thought of it that way Indydebi...I think you're right he does need to limit the options per meal...Usually at any given time he has about 3-5 different cakes out for selection. I will make this suggestion to him and see how he receives it...Thanks again! thumbs_up.gif

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